On this day in Duluth in 1890, writer Winifred Mahon was born to Harry and Helen Mahon. She grew up on the East Hillside and graduated Central High School in 1907 with another future writer, Margaret Culkin Banning. She married Duluthian Wayland Hall Sanford and they moved to Wichita Falls, Texas, to establish his law practice. According to biographer David Ouse, “Winifred had been writing fiction for a while, and in 1922 she joined a literary group, the Manuscript Club, in Wichita Falls. The members encouraged each other and critiqued one another’s works. In 1925, Winifred had her short story “Wreck” published in the American Mercury, and this began a long relationship by correspondence between Winifred and H. L. Mencken, editor of that journal, in which he encouraged her writing. Eventually she would publish eight more short stories in the American Mercury, and others in the Woman’s Home Companion, The North American Review, and Household.… Following her death Winifred’s short story “Luck” was turned into the 1995 movie The Stars Fell on Henrietta, directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Robert Duvall, Aidan Quinn, Frances Fisher, and Brian Dennehy. The script was written by Winifred’s grandson, Philip Railsback. Discover more Duluth writers in the Biography section of our History Archive, here.
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